Search - The Donna Reed Show: The Complete First Season on DVD

The Donna Reed Show: The Complete First Season
The Donna Reed Show The Complete First Season
Actors: Donna Reed, Carl Betz, Shelley Fabares, Paul Petersen, Jimmy Hawkins
Director: Darryl Richard
Genres: Comedy, Kids & Family, Television
NR     2008     16hr 0min

Donna Reed went from a distinguished film career to an even bigger career on Television as she starred in and co-produced The Donna Reed Show. This beloved and hugely successful sitcom premiered 50 years ago on the ABC net...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Donna Reed, Carl Betz, Shelley Fabares, Paul Petersen, Jimmy Hawkins
Director: Darryl Richard
Genres: Comedy, Kids & Family, Television
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Family Films, Comedy, Classic TV
Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 10/28/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 16hr 0min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Time to Celebrate!!
E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 07/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's time to celebrate, the First Season of the ground-breaking and truly iconic classic The Donna Reed Show is coming to DVD after years of fan pleadings - along with a promise to release Season 2 next year!

Joe Amodei, President of Arts Alliance America and Mary Owen (the daughter of Donna Reed) made the happy announcement together. The release will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the show's debut episode. ABC first aired The Donna Reed Show on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 1958 at 9:00 p.m.

The series took place in the fictional town of Hilldale. It centered around the dreams, ambitions, and frustrations of the Stone family: Alex, a pediatrician; his wife, Donna; and their children, Mary, Jeff, and Trisha (unofficially adopted in later episodes).

It was the beginning of a long relationship with America as viewers tuned in weekly to visit the Stone family for eight years, representing 274 episodes. The series' final episode aired March 19, 1966.

Ms. Reed was Emmy nominated four times for her role on the show, and in 1963 won a Golden Globe as Best Female TV Star. She also won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 1953 for her performance in "From Here To Eternity," but is probably best known for her role as Jimmy Stewart's wife, Mary Bailey, in the Christmas masterpiece, "It's a Wonderful Life."

The series was one of several family-based shows that literally helped shaped the landscape of reality in America - rather than the other way 'round. Other Classic iconic family shows of the era included Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Patty Duke Show and My Three Sons.

The adventures of the Stone family were similar to what those other TV families had to contend with - measles, girlfriends and boyfriends, school problems, little white lies, and so on, compounded by the fact that Dr. Alex was always running off at odd hours to attend his patients. Like those other shows, it had a wholesome quality that endeared it to audiences.

But, the ground-breaking difference between this show and all of the others was its focus: In this series, it was the Mom who knew best. This was the first show of its kind where the Mom was the lead character. And what a Mom! In my opinion, Ms. Reed was - and remains - in a class by herself.

When this show originally aired, Ms. Reed became an influential role model to women - as mother, wife and professional.

Despite all of these shows utter lack of racial and religious diversity and conservative depiction of conformity at all costs, I still love them all. I'm a liberal feminist so it makes absolutely NO sense, but there it is. My favorite is Father Knows Best, but this show comes in a very close second because of its star.

Ms. Reed was effervescent without being mechanical. She was sweet, funny and forgiving - everything a child could ever want in a Mom. In addition, her relationship with her "husband," played by the brilliant Carl Betz, had just a hint of real sexuality that was blatantly missing in the other shows.

In addition to Mr. Betz (who later starred in the Classic TV courtroom drama Judd for the Defense,) the cast included Shelley Fabares and Paul Peterson, as the Stone's children, Mary and Jeff. The Donna Reed Show remained on the air so long that the original children grew up. Mary left for college in 1962 and Jeff did the same two seasons later. An 8-year-old orphan named Trisha was adopted by the Stones joined the cast in January of 1963 to maintain the "family" appeal of the series. Patty Peterson, who played, Trisha was Paul Peterson's (Jeff Stone) real-life sister.

Close friends of the Stones were Midge Kelsey, played by Ann McCrea, and her husband, Dr. David Kelsey, played by Bob Crane (long before the Classic TV comedy Hogan's Heroes.) Children pals were Smitty, played by Darryl Richard and Herbie Bailey, played by Tommy Ivo.

The Donna Reed Show had numerous special guests stars including Buster Keaton, who appeared twice on the program, Marlo Thomas, Esther Williams, and baseball greats Don Drysdale and Willie Mays who appeared on the show as themselves.

For 10 years syndicated re-runs of The Donna Reed Show entertained new generations of young people on Nick at Nite. In a growing resurgence of nostalgia and a salute to Mothe;'s Day, the cable television network, Nickelodeon, aired a week long "Seven Day Donna-Thon" of episodes in 1990.

Ms. Reed's daughter, Mary Owen, said, "My Mother always said that she and my Father (Tony Owen was the Producer and principal architect of The Donna Reed Show) had climbed a mountain together making this show. For a whole generation of Baby Boomers, the Stone's were their second family. Today, when Boomers are starting to retire, it's time again to sit and watch The Donna Reed Show, this time with their grand kids and let them be amazed at who established and sowed the seeds of the American family. In the 1960's, before we lived with computers and cable TV with over 200 channels of mostly junk, the Stone family showed what love, respect and support for one another looked like."

In the debut episode, "Weekend Trip," audiences were introduced to the Stone family and got a glimpse of their sometimes chaotic day-to-day life flavored by the loving influence of Donna Stone who dispenses advice, discipline, humor and wisdom to her family. When series begins, Donna and Alex Stone had been married for 15 years.

All of the First Season episodes are included in this boxed set and are: 1. Weekend Trip (9/24/1958); 2. Pardon My GLoves (10/1/1958); 3. The Hike (10/8/1958); 4. Male Ego (10/15/1958) 5. The Football Uniform (10/22/1958); 6. The Foundling (10/29/1958); 7. Three-Part Mother (11/5/1958); 8. Change Partners And Dance (11/12/1958); 9. Dough Re Mi (11/19/1958); 10. Guest In The House (11/26/1958); 11. The Baby Contest (12/3/1958); 12. The Beaded Bag (12/10/1958); 13. The Busy Body (12/17/1958); 14. A Very Merry Christmas (12/24/1958); 15. Mary's Double date (12/31/1958); 16. Jeff's Double life (1/7/1959); 17. Nothing But The Truth (1/14/1959); 18. It's the principle of the thing (1/21/1959); 19. Jeff vs. Mary (1/28/1959); 20. Have Fun (2/4/1959); 21. Donna Plays Cupid (2/11/1959); 22. Love Thy Neighbor (2/18/1959); 23. The Report Card (2/25/1959); 24. Boys Will Be Boys (3/4/1959); 25. The Ideal Wife (3/11/1959); 26. Mary's Campaign (3/18/1959); 27. The Flowered Print Dress (3/25/1959); 28. April Fool (4/1/1959); 29. The Parting Of The Ways (4/8/1959); 30. The Hero (4/15/1959); 31. Do You Trust Your Child? (4/22/1959); 32. Grateful Patient (4/29/1959); 33. The Testimonial (5/6/1959); 34. Miss Lovelace Comes To Tea (5/13/1959); 35. Tomorrow Comes Too Soon (5/20/1959); 36. Advice To Young Lovers (5/27/1959); and 37. Operation Deadbeat (6/3/1959).

The theme song for the series, "Happy Days," and was written by William Loose and John Seely.
Several family and medical groups honored the series with awards. In fact, the President of the American Medical Association made a brief appearance on one episode.

Arts Alliance America has promised to follow this release with The Donna Reed Show: Season 2 next year."
The Donna Reed Show is finally on DVD!
Tante Maren | Ohio, United States | 07/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have waited what seems like an eternity (Actually it's been 50 years since the show debuted) for The Donna Reed Show to finally be on dvd. I am just so happy to be able to view this fantastic show again whenever I want!
The Donna Reed Show debuted on ABC, on September 24,1958 and ran until 1966, for eight seasons. It's first sponsors were the Campbell Soup Co. and the Johnson and Johnson Company. It starred the Stone Family, Donna Stone (Donna Reed) the most wonderful mother you could ever want, Dr.Alex Stone (Carl Betz) her pediatrician doctor husband, Mary Stone (Shelley Fabares)(1958-1963) Donna's 14 year old daughter, Jeff Stone (Paul Petersen) Donna's 11 year old son, and a later on adopted 9 year old daughter Trisha Stone (Patty Petersen, Paul Petersen's real life sister)(1963-1966). Trisha came into the show after Mary (Fabares) went away to college, in reality, Fabares left the show to pursue her acting and singing career. The other regulars in the show were Donna's next door neighbor and best friend, Midge Kelsey (Ann McCrea)(1963-1966) and her husband Dr. Dave Kelsey (Bob Crane)(1963-1965, Bob left the show to star in Hogan's Heroes). Jimmy Hawkins played George Haskell in 1959, then became Scotty Simpson from 1960 to 1965. Scotty was Mary's boyfriend. Darryl Richard (Smitty 1962-1966) and Janet Landgard (Karen Holmby 1964-1965)were also regular friends on the show.
The Guest stars were numerous on the show as well, including some of the better known: Jamie Farr, Buster Keaton, Ted Knight, Jack Albertson, John Astin, Harvey Korman, Dabney Coleman, Kim Darby, James Darren, Don Drysdale, Kelly Drysdale, Ginger Drysdale, Gale Gordon, Swoosie Kurtz, Johnny Crawford (the Rifleman's son), Paul Winchell, George Sidney, Margaret Dumont, singer Tony Martin, Cloris Leachman, Willie Mays, Leo Durocher, Ellen Corby, Arte Johnson, Marlo Thomas, Jay North (Dennis the Menace), Marion Ross (Happy Days Mom), Mary Wickes, George Hamilton, DeForrest Kelly, Lassie, Esther Williams and on the last show in 1966, singer Lesley Gore.
This show always had such a real "loving home" and "loving mom" type atmosphere with the performance that Donna Reed gave every week. Playing Donna Stone, she was always there for her children, with love, advice and always caring about any needs they had at the moment. Donna's pediatrician husband Dr. Alex Stone also had his office in the front of their home, making it such a convenience for Donna to help out with his practice by working as his nurse when he needed her help. Many doctor's had their offices in their homes in the 1950's, it was very common. The doctors also made house calls, like Alex and spent many hours in the hospitals as well. This aspect of the show is great for anyone who remembers these times, and how differently we lived back then, compared to now.
Paul Petersen had already been a child star before his debut on the Donna Reed Show as Donna's son Jeff, as he was briefly, a Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club Show. After two weeks as a Mouseketeer, Paul (real name William Paul Petersen) was fired for disorderly conduct. Paul said at the time he was 10 years old as a Mouseketeer, and that " I didn't know that a kid actor shouldn't act like a kid." On The Donna Reed Show in 1963, Paul sang a song called "My Dad", which went on to be a hit for Colpix Records.
Shelley Fabares (Mary Stone, Donna's daughter) went off to college on the show in 1962. During her college year on the show, she sang a song called "Johnny Angel". The song became an instant hit record, selling over a million copies and going Gold. Shelley recorded 5 albums after this hit from 1962 to 1964. Of course, Shelley (real name Michelle Marie Fabares, she is the niece of actress Nanette Fabray) left the show after having this gold record, and pursued her acting and singing career, which led to her sucessful movies and television shows for many decades. Following The Donna Reed Show, Shelley then became famous for co-starring in the Elvis Presley movies, "Spinout", "Girl Happy" and "Clambake". Besides her parts in many movies, Shelley also starred in numerous television shows, such as Mork and Mindy, Murder She Wrote, Love American Style, The Twilight Zone and many more. Shelley was last known for her television show "Coach". In October 2000, Shelley received a liver transplant due to an auto-immune disorder.
It will really be so wonderful to see all these truly heartwarming, great shows again. These shows really give you a great view of life in the late 50's and early 60's with one of America's Best T.V. Moms ever!"
The Donna Reed Show - An American Classic!
Glenn M. Schoditsch | Richmond, Virginia USA | 07/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With the blessings of her children and production by Arts Alliance America, "The Donna Reed Show" has finally made its way to DVD!

As with Oscar winner Walter Brennen in 'The Real McCoys', Academy award winner Donna Reed moves to the the small screen as homemaker Donna Stone accompanied by Carl Betz (future Emmy winner) as her pediatrician husband, Dr. Alex Stone. With Shelley Fabares and Paul Peterson as their children Mary and Jeff (and soon to be teen idols), the 'The Donna Reed Show' depicts a late 1950's sitcom family resulting in mostly comedic outcomes while including many tender family moments representing poignant & groundbreaking social issues of the time.

Arts Alliance America brings us this delightful series with the complete Season One (no half season release here) with a whopping 37 episodes in pristine Black & White. Although 50 years since its debut, the 'The Donna Reed Show' will delight viewers old and new with it's contemporary family friendly moral themes.

Even after 50 years this is true quality family programming at its best!

UPDATE: 11.02.08

I just finished watching Disc #1; it just took me straight back to 1958 (yes I was a little guy back then but do remember the show in its first run). I can't think of a finer TV show for the whole family, maybe 'The Real McCoys', that truly puts forth family values.

And best of all The Donna Reed Show: The Complete Second Season and The Donna Reed Show: Season Three are out now. And rumor has it Season 4 due out by Mother's Day 2010! Very important that we support Virgil Films and Entertainment to let them know we want the whole series run. They are setting the bar high for CBS/Paramount and others."
Donna Reed Rules!
Chris Damon | New Jersey | 11/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I used to watch Donna Reed on Nick at Nite every single night before going to bed, and well it seems that I am doing that once again thanks to the DVDs. These are great shows even today, they just don't make shows like this anymore! I have to agree with some of the comments though, the Nick at Nite airings definitely had better quality prints than the DVD's. I find them to very dark at times, but definitely viewable - if you like the show you certainly won't be disappointed. Just being nit- picky for some reason the few Arts Alliance America DVDs that I own (Banacek being another one) use rather abrupt fade ins and outs that seem rather quick, not the way I prefer them - I like smooth transitions. But, like I said that is just a preference - in no way does it interfere with my enjoyment of the content of the show. At least Donna Reed did not get into the hands of the butchers and slaughterers over at Paramount/CBS DVD - (not that it would have - it was Screen Gems and would have been released by Sony) but I like to stick it to them any chance I can for DESTROYING the best classic TV shows... Anyway ...Looking forward to getting Season 2!"